Community input considered in process of selecting new superintendent

Rebekah Barnes | Staff Writer

Mason City Schools’ Board of Education has begun listening to community input through community forums as it searches for the next superintendent. The board is looking towards implementing more outlets for Mason community members to voice opinions in the future, according to Mason City Schools’ Board of Education President Debbie Delp.With Mason City Schools Superintendent Kevin Bright leaving the district on July 31, the board held a community forum on April 26 for residents to give feedback about what they are looking for in a superintendent. The board also uploaded an online survey for community members to fill out and give opinions on the next superintendent. On April 27, various Human Resources (HR) experts for companies in the area were asked by the board to give their perspectives on the board’s search to fill the position, according to Delp.

Delp said that each opportunity for community input has helped the board to search for the superintendent.

“The public forum and survey have given us direction, [and] the community HR forum [has] helped us understand some of the fine points of the process,” Delp said.

While the board is working toward creating a process to fill the position, they conducted the community forum, which had eight community members in attendance. One of the eight was Social Studies teacher Darin Little said that he was shocked at the lack of members of the Mason community.

Susan Melcher, Mason resident and mother of four students in the district, said that while she appreciates these opportunities, she doesn’t think the board will listen to all opinions in order to make their final decision.

“[The board members] are my elected officials, so therefore, I have to trust what they do,” Melcher said. “I may not agree with everything they say, but I trust that they’re going to make the right decision.”

Delp said that the board is hoping to incorporate these types of forums and opportunities in the future for district-wide decisions. While they are planned, Little said he believes the community must take the opportunities given in the future if they are going to discuss decisions made by the board. However, with the opportunities for community input, Delp said that the board will make the decision in the end.

“Ultimately, the decision must be made by the board,” Delp said. “A school board has two major responsibilities: to hire the superintendent and treasurer, and to set policy for the district.”